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Salvation Army employee quits job after she was attacked at work

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NORMAN, Okla. - A Salvation Army worker says she quit her job after she was brutally beaten at work.

Officials say the attack was captured on surveillance video.

Harvey Lee says his wife, Buncie, was working at The Salvation Army in Norman last month when she confronted a man.

She says she asked 43-year-old Harold Wright to leave the facility because he was intoxicated and belligerent.

That's when Lee says Wright allegedly punched his wife's face, throat and ribs.

In all, Lee says his wife was hit 23 times.

Other staff members rushed to the victim's aid and eventually stopped the attack.

Wright was arrested and charged with assault and battery.

However, Lee says that is not enough.

He is outraged the attack is classified as a misdemeanor and not a felony.

"He hit her in her throat. That could have killed her," he said. "He hit her in the temple. That could have killed her," Lee said.

Wright has two previous felony convictions, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in 2006 and assault with a dangerous weapon on a police officer in 2008.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn says the current assault and battery charge is a misdemeanor because the defendant did not use a weapon and the victim's injuries were minor.

"The law in this specific case is if you use your hands and you don't break any bones and you don't maim someone, then it's a misdemeanor," Mashburn said.

"This law needs to be changed," Lee said. "Anytime a man beats on a female, it needs to be a felony. Automatic, first hit."

Mashburn says lawmakers could change the assault and battery law to include charity workers into a special class of people.

For example, an assault on a police officer or a juvenile affairs worker is a felony.

"So there are certain things that the legislature has chosen to say, even if it's not extended injuries, even if it's not 'you used a weapon' but you do it to these certain people, then it would be a felony," Mashburn said.

Because of Wright's previous felony convictions, Mashburn said he could receive the maximum 90 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge.

The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma Ara Command issued a statement saying:

"The Salvation Army takes responsibility for the safety of employees and clients very seriously. The Salvation Army does not tolerate misconduct and improprieties of any kind by its’ employees, officers and/or clients.

"The Salvation Army fully cooperated with authorities in the referenced incident.

"The Salvation Army uses stringent screening requirements for all staff and volunteers, training to identify risk factors that lead to accident or injury, and implementing procedures for responding to and reporting incidents.

"The Salvation Army has Standard Operating Procedures for emergencies in which staff are trained. These policies and procedures include but are not limited to workplace violence and personal threats.

"Our mission statement states 'to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.' It is our standard practice to conduct background checks on all prospective employees."

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